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602 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
While this Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode was supposed to flatter our city, it’s done just the opposite. The fact that a reality show’s presence in our city was considered a headline news item for a week is proof of how provincial we really are. Would Nashville, for example, act like the king were visiting if Extreme Makeover’s Ty Pennington came to town?
But the harm this show does to our community extends beyond subtle embarrassment. It’s an insult to the struggling communities in North, South, and East Knoxville. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has dropped another mansion on West Knoxville, all cameras rolling, while the city’s poor communities suffer systematic evictions without a glance from the media.
It’s a shame that all that local volunteer work and all those local donations provided only one wastefully large home to one chosen family, avoiding the real question: Why did that family have to get lucky to get help? And what about the uncountable families who didn’t win?
The causes of poverty, homelessness, and evictions are controversial so we entertain ourselves by fixing things superficially. Extreme Makeover does a spectacular job of posing as a charity, but it is still just a show about plastic surgery.